Wondering what soft skills you need to succeed as a remote worker? Here’s our rundown of the most important ones, plus tips on how to put them into practice in the virtual workplace.

You’re preparing to interview for an exciting new remote working opportunity and you think you’ve got all your bases covered. Career goals, check. Experience and job-related skills, check and check. Soft skills … wait, what? 

Soft skills are relational attributes that help people work effectively, whether on their own or in a team. And with many workplaces shifting to hybrid or remote models, these interpersonal skills have become just as important as technical knowledge.

what skills make someone an effective remote worker?

1. communication

Top of the list is the ability to communicate and collaborate effectively within a virtual workplace, whether that’s via email, telephone, video call or instant messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. This means more than simply being able to use the technology to keep people in the loop. Some communication channels work better than others depending on the situation, so you need to exercise good judgment when deciding how to reach out to colleagues.   

2. service orientation

Closely related to effective communication is the ability to anticipate, identify and meet other people’s needs, whether they’re a co-worker or a client. With many marketing, sales and customer service jobs now done remotely, you’ll need to read and react quickly to situations if you want to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty.    

3. time management

Whether it’s the dog begging for a walk or the pull of daytime TV, there will always be distractions when you’re working remotely. Create your own boundaries, starting with having a workspace away from as many interruptions as possible. Then set deadlines to help you manage your time and stay on task. Tempted to scroll your favorite blog for “just a minute?” Save it for a scheduled break.

4. initiative

One of the downsides of remote working is that you can’t just pop down the hall to ask a co-worker for advice. You’ve left a message, but there’s no guarantee they’ll get back to you on time — so you need to step up and take matters into your own hands. Come up with a few solutions, weigh up the pros and cons of each and choose a course of action. Then own your decision by taking responsibility for the outcome. Even if your solution isn’t perfect, your boss will appreciate that you showed resourcefulness. 

5. stress tolerance

All jobs are stressful at times, and more so if they’re fast paced, such as customer service or project management. You’ll also have days when deadlines are piling up or clients are digging their heels in. Without a team physically around to help you let off steam, you need to know how to manage your emotions calmly. Try to remain positive and approachable, and remember to reach out to someone if it all gets too much.  

6. adaptability

Perhaps it’s a new project that’s suddenly landed on your desk or different software that you need to get to grips with fast. Or maybe your network connection has crashed just as you need to deliver an important piece of work. As a remote worker, you’ll be challenged with unexpected situations on a regular basis, so the ability to pivot quickly and find a creative solution is vital. 

With remote jobs in high demand, many workers will have similar qualifications and technical skills. What will make you stand out are your soft skills, so honing these might just land you that perfect job.


Think you’ve got the soft skills to excel as a remote worker? Check our job boards for exciting new remote opportunities.